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Having a passport is a wonderful thing. With it, you have access to thousands of incredible destinations around the globe. Without it, you’re stuck at home.

Whether your passport is stolen, misplaced, or wrecked, having to replace it while abroad is ridiculously stressful, and something which can really throw a spanner in your trip. Replacing it means traveling to your nearest consulate or embassy, and in some parts of the world these buildings might be in another country. Check-mate. Best ways to keep your passport safe.

So it’s important to keep it safe at all times. It’s a small document, but ever so crucial, and whether it’s before, during, or after your travels, you should treat it as if it’s gold. The following are tips for keeping your passport safe, as well as other important passport info.

How to Keep Your Passport Safe While Traveling

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Make Copies

Regardless of whether you’re traveling for a year, a month, or a day, you should always make multiple copies of your passport (you only need to photocopy the information page with your photo and name on it).

Place a photocopy in each piece of luggage, keeping them hidden, and leave an extra copy at home. Be sure to scan and keep an electronic copy too (email it to yourself or store in a password protected file on your computer).

Having a paper photocopy will help with the process of getting it replaced, and act as your identification should it be stolen or misplaced. If you want to go the extra mile, you can always have these photocopies certified (there is usually a fee involved with this). What happens if my passport gets wet?

Pro Tip: It’s not a bad idea to travel with an set of extra passport photos in the unlikely event that you have to replace it. You can usually obtain these from a local post office or grocery store (Target passport photos are relatively cheap).

Protect it from the Weather

If your travels include drastic changes in climate, buy a passport protector, and store it in a room which is as climate controlled as possible. If you’re traveling with it stored in your bag, make sure you have some form of waterproof cover.

A recent trip to Costa Rica ended with my passport in a bowl of rice in an attempt to dry it out as much as possible (rice absorbs moisture). After two weeks of exposure to extreme humidity, the whole passport became damp; ink ran and stamps became blurry, with some sticking to the other page.

The information page remained intact, and I was fortunately still able to travel on it. Albeit stern lectures from immigration officials about the importance of taking care of my documents. Is it worth buying a passport cover?

Note that storing it somewhere climate controlled is also important when you’re at home. If you find that your passport is damaged before your trip, don’t stress, you can look into getting it expedited.

Kyza travel wallet passport holder

Pro Tip: The Kyza Travel Wallet is a great way to protect your passport. Made from genuine leather it comes with 2 wallets; an outer wallet for your travel necessities (passport, currency, notes, boarding pass) and an inner wallet for your everyday travels (credit cards, smaller notes). 

Lock it in the Hotel Safe

The National Passport Service advises that the best place to keep a passport while traveling is in your hotel safe. You do not need to carry your passport with you at all times, and it is much safer to keep it in the hotel.

If your room doesn’t have a safe, head to the front desk and ask if management will put it in theirs. Otherwise, if you have doubts about the safety of your accommodation, find a lock for your travel bags and place it in a secure location in your room. Where to put passport when traveling.

Apart from airport security and clearing immigration, it’s not necessary to pull out your passport for everyone who asks for it, not even the police. Always try to use a drivers license instead. One of your photocopies will do just fine.

Crowne Plaza Canberra Hotel Review

Keep it On Your Person When Carrying it

There are certain times when you’ll have to carry your passport with you, namely when in transit. In instances where you do have to have it on you, make sure you keep it concealed and that you know where it is at all times.

Keeping it under your clothes or in a hidden pocket is a good way of carrying it, though make sure you have it in something that is water resistant, and something discreet which doesn’t give away that it’s there. Do not buy a money belt. DO make sure you have removed it from your pocket before throwing your clothes in the wash. How to keep passport safe in Europe.

If you don’t have a suitable pocket or place to hide it under your clothing, hide it in your backpack. Do not leave your bag unattended, and avoid placing it anywhere which is easy to access. Make sure it’s hidden, preferably within a pocket within a pocket.

If your passport is lost or stolen, report your situation to the local police and make note of the crime reference details. You will need these when you contact your embassy. You can find the details of your local embassy from your government website online.

Your embassy will cancel your lost or stolen passport to prevent any possibility of identity theft, and issue you a new one. Timeframe will vary depending on embassy.

Do not risk your life for your passport. If you’re being robbed and they’re demanding your things, hand everything over – especially if you think they have a weapon. Replacing your passport is annoying, but it’s better than being injured or losing your life.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Featured photo by Christopher Ruud. Second pinterest image by Kevin Spencer. Fuzzy passport by Timothy Smith. Cosmo Hotel by Dorsett Hospitality International

    44 Comments

  1. I am not looking forward to keeping track of 5 kids passports on our next trip! Wish me luck!!

    • Good luck!! I’m sure you’ll have a great trip :) Biggest thing with managing multiple passports on a family trip is to keep them all in the same place, and give the responsibility of them to only one parent. As soon as two people start trying to manage them it gets confusing and that’s when they can get left behind or lost.

      Have a wonderful trip!

  2. Excellent information about keeping photocopies of your passport. They are great for ID.

    • Thanks Rhonda! Absolutely – I’ve found photocopies work fine for ID while you’re out – people understand that travelers don’t want to be walking around with their original document and risking the safety of it.

  3. These are great tips Megan! It’s a travellers worst nightmare to lose their passport. Thankfully that hasn’t happened to me and won’t happen to me!The no money belt is a good tip.

    • Thanks Marteen! Glad to hear you’ve had a good run with your passport – and yes, I’ve been a strong advocate against the money belt for a while now lol. It’s very obvious from the outside, and it screams to everyone around that you’re a tourist which puts you in a vulnerable position.

      Happy travels :)

  4. Damn, I can’t imagine how horrible it gotta be to loose your passport abroad. I always leave my passport at the hotel and just carry around a photocopy of my passport and entry stamp.

    • I had a friend while traveling for a year in the UK who lost her passport three times! In the end I think the embassy told her the last reissue was the last one :S!

      Carrying a photo of the entry stamp is a great idea if you do need to present it – hadn’t thought of that, so thanks for the tip!

  5. I’m so lucky nothing has happened to my passport. I’ve been travelling for years and never do any of these things! In fact, I had a debate with my best mate in Mongolia because I never take my passport out with me but she does. I leave my in my bag at the hotel. She had her passport stolen and had to stay longer and miss the final leg of the Trans-Siberian. I probably should still try to be more careful….

    • Glad to hear you’ve had a good run Laura! Sorry to hear about your friend though – it’s one of the worst things to have happen – really can completely throw off your plans.

      Definitely recommend continuing to leave it locked up in the hotel.

      Happy travels!

  6. Nice tips! Some simple steps like these though will definitely help.

    • Thanks Jim! It’s often the simple things which we overlook, but they can make a huge difference to a trip :)

  7. This is super helpful and important! I do carry copies of my passport when we travel, but I need to be more conscious of protecting my little book from the weather! I read about someone a few months back that had a little bit of water damage on their passport and the airport wouldn’t let them get on the plane for their honeymoon! Yikes, although it’s common sense to keep your passport in great condition, I could easily see that mistake happening to anyone who uses their passport alot! I hope I never lose my passport either! Eeek, what a nightmare to deal with!

    • Yes, I think protection from the weather and water damage is one thing people completely overlook – I certainly did, and from the sounds of the stories coming about about people being refused entry onto the plane, I’m starting to consider myself pretty lucky that I was still able to travel on mine!

      A reminder I think even frequent travelers can benefit from every now and then. I feel as though we get complacent as we travel more and more, and it can sometimes become so second nature that it’s easy to think we’re totally covered but forget about the basics :)

  8. All good tips – so important to take care of your passport. I do all of these things to keep it safe (plastic carrier, have copies, lock it in a hotel safe) but tend to get lazy when I’m on an airplane. Typically, they look at your passport right when you get on, then I shove it into my purse or put it in the seatback pocket while I am getting all settled. On more than one occasion I have had to turn back to the plane because I left my passport. So dumb!

    • I think we’ve all been guilty of just throwing our passport into out purse or seat pocket after getting on the plane. It usually ends up in the seat pocket for me when I have to pull it out to write up my landing card. Though I’ve developed an obsessive habit of checking seat pockets thoroughly before I depart the plane so hopefully I’ll be ok :D!

  9. These are such important tips to know and remember. I lost my passport (twice!) while living abroad in NYC. Luckily I had photocopies and certified photocopies, which I used as ID for months after (my bag had been stolen with everything in it). It cost me a lot of money to get it replaced (the Australian embassy charged me an extra fee for replacing it the second time – like a penalty charge) and was a huge nightmare. I was supposed to travel to Toronto and Montreal but once I lost my passport and had to cancel my trips. Thanks for sharing these safety tips!

    • Sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with passport replacements in the past … when on my gap year in the UK one of my Australian friends had a similar thing – she lost it like 3 times in the one year, and each time she replaced it they charged more through an extra fee. I think the third time she replaced it in the one year they told her this was the last replacement!! Probably thought it was something to do with selling her identity lol.

      Happy travels … hope you don’t have to deal with any more passport issues again X

  10. i am always so worried about the passport when i Travel. Unfortunately if i loose it, i get a temporary replacement which allows me only travel straight back home.

    • Ouch – only being allowed to travel back home on the replacement is tough – that could ruin a round the world trip quite quickly. Hopefully you won’t ever have to know :) X

  11. This will come in VERY handy when traveling throughout Thailand, China, and Taiwan over the next few months! I had never considered bringing along extra passport photos, but growing up I always had a photocopy of my passport. It was from our old fax machine (that must age me a tad!). Thanks for all the tips!

    • I used to travel with copies from an old fax machine too! Lol yes I think it does give away something as to our age :D!

      My biggest thing now is keeping a copy electronically on the computer, and also in my emails. I’ve thankfully never had to use them, but I’m happy knowing that they’re there just in case :)

  12. I just recently got my passport and I’m guarding it like a baby! I had a moment of panic on my most recent trip when I had retrieved it from the hostel safe but then misplaced it in the few minutes that I was organizing my stuff before heading to take the bus to the airport, I had a moment of panic where I thought I’d be stuck in Hawaii forever (actually that doesn’t seem so bad) and then meantime it was in my purse the whole time even though I had searched through it 3 times.

    • There’s nothing worse than that feeling of panic, so I’m glad to hear that you found it in the end. Though by the same token, a sentence of life in Hawaii definitely isn’t the worst thing :D

      Happy travels Jasmine :) Thanks for stopping by!

  13. I always forget to make a copy of my passport before I travel. I really need to remember to do this! Hopefully I’ll never end up in a situation where my passport is stolen or robbed, but if it does happen I’ll remember these tips.

    • My biggest tip would be to grab your passport right now and scan it so you’ve always got an electronic copy. Shoot yourself an email with the file attachment, and then even if you do forget to make physical copies, you’ve always got it there in your email just in case :)

      Happy travels!

  14. Super important stuff. I lost my passport when I was in Canada once (I’m from USA), but luckily they seemed to take pity on me and let me back in the USA. I still have no idea how I lost it or when! Since then, I’ve implemented several of these tips – but I never thought about humidity being a factor! Crazy.

    • Absolutely Bailey – glad to hear your experience worked out ok and you managed to get home. I know how horrible that feeling of panic is though when you just have no idea where it went!!

      And definitely re humidity – I had no idea and was quite shocked when I went to pull it out after 2 weeks of volunteering!

  15. These are great tips! I always try to lock my passport away. i lost it once travelling and it was very unfun.

    • Thanks Cass! Sorry to hear you lost you passport once before … hopefully that’ll be the one and only time it happens to you X

  16. There are some great tips in this post. I totally agree that the safest place for a passport is locked up at your hostel or hotel. I meet people all the time that take it everywhere! I haven’t had to use the photocopies / scan of my passport, but by god, I’ve got it ready! Great tips! Cheers!

    • Thanks Paige :) I’ve always maintained that taking your passport with you everywhere you go is one of the worst travel tips of all times. There are definitely instances where you will need to take it with you, but 99% of the time a photocopy or a drivers license will suffice.

      Doesn’t matter as much if you lose one of those!!

  17. I never thought about what would happen if my passport got wet or if I left it in a damp place — yikes! Your post was super insightful.

    • Thanks Danielle! And yes, definitely want to keep it somewhere climate controlled – I was lucky that I managed to get out of that one without having to replace it, but man I freaked out!!

  18. Oh man, passport safety is a real thing! Its always the first thing I hide when in an insecure place and yes, girls, bring your own locks with you so you can take care of your valuables. Those hostel dorm lockers are only useful when you have the locks! I always make photocopies of my passport and leave it with loved ones at home too and you should also say a digital copy so you have one on your harddrive that you can email in case it gets lost. I also print all my passport copies in color.

    • Oh absolutely!! And great tip re traveling with your own lock … while on that point, I would also add to make sure you don’t lose the key!! I’ve done that once or twice, so now I travel and put the keys on my actual keychain.

      Printing passport copies in color is a fantastic piece of advice – I think that goes a long way to being a little more legit when you have to rely on them as ID :)

      Thanks for sharing your experience Izzy! Safe travels X

  19. These are all great tips! I definitely need to invest in a passport cover. I’m pretty good and keeping it safe and in great shape, but you never know.

    • Thanks Colby! A passport cover is a great investment – I went and purchased a nice leather one, and love that because there’s even a spot inside to keep a pen. Comes in super handy when having to fill in landing cards they hand out on the planes :D

  20. You need to carry the extra passport photos so that you have them handy if in case your passport gets stolen and you need the replacement as soon as possible. The need that exists with this scenario is that the passport photos are to be the recent ones reflecting your current appearance.

    • Absolutely Klaze – thanks for the tips :)

  21. Putting it in the hotel room safe is a great idea unless, like me, you tend to forget you put things in the safe. I once forgot my passport in a hotel. Now, I always put one of the shoes I plan to wear the day I leave in the safe as well so I’m sure not to forget.

    • Yes, don’t go with the safe if you forget you put things there!! Though the shoes idea is a great way to remind yourself … very clever!

      Happy travels Deb :)

  22. Why you need a lock with you, if you go to a Hotel, how you used, lock the suitcases
    Somewhere
    Thank you

    • Hi Eliana, many people choose to keep their bags locked even once they’re inside their hotel rooms. It’s an extra layer of safety just in case someone gains access to your room while you’re out :)

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